Download Imagining Equality in Nineteenth-Century American Literature by Kerry Larson PDF

By Kerry Larson

The subject of inequality has frequently ruled educational feedback, which has been curious about deciding upon, examining, and demystifying quite a few regimes of strength and the illicit hierarchies upon which they're equipped. reports of the U.S. within the 19th century have this development in concentrating on slavery, women's writing, and working-class activism. Kerry Larson advocates the significance of taking a look in its place at equality as a valuable subject, viewing it no longer as an endangered perfect to try for and guard yet as an imagined social truth in its personal correct, one with far-reaching effects. during this unique learn, he reads the literature of the pre-Civil battle usa opposed to Tocqueville's theories of equality. Imagining Equality assessments those theories within the paintings of a vast array of authors and genres, either canonical and non-canonical, and in doing so discovers very important new issues in Stowe, Hawthorne, Douglass and Alcott.

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Taking their cue from Jefferson’s judgment that blacks and whites could never live together in harmony, the colonizationists believed that the degradations caused by slavery among the blacks and the 30 Imagining Equality ongoing, rooted prejudice of the whites combined to create, in effect, a feedback loop which could not be broken. Although Walker assailed colonization as a plot to perpetuate slavery and William Lloyd Garrison accused it of wanton hypocrisy in feigning benevolent concern to mask an essentially racist agenda, neither criticism was entirely fair.

Fancying himself a “Brother Socialist” (CA, 260) who actually lives in the communist utopia his Northern counterparts can only dream of, the “ultra-slavery man” steps forward to save freedom and equality from the clutches of capitalism’s “abnormal and anomalous” hegemony. Fitzhugh is most often remembered today as one of the South’s more forceful advocates of paternalism, the view that African Americans, being incapable of caring for themselves, must be taken care of by others. And it is certainly true that a number of passages in both Cannibals All!

Taking the idea that a denial of equality is a denial of nature about as far as it can go, Chapter One anatomizes what Easton calls “the lineal effects of slavery on its victims” (85). If difference is a token of sin, then sin practiced systematically and remorselessly can only be called a disease. “Slavery, in its effects, is like that of a complicated disease,” writes Easton, and to illustrate the point he calls attention to “the deformities of the offspring” of slave parents: “contracted and sloped foreheads; prominent eye-balls; projecting under-jaw; certain distended muscles about the mouth, or lower parts of the face; thick lips and flat nose” (85).

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